Vowels can be tricky to describe phonetically because they are points, or rather areas, within a continuous space... [more inside]
You may be familiar with Ferdinand de Saussure as the founder of structuralism or as one of the defining contributors to semiotics but did you know that he also did ground-breaking work in Proto-Indo-European linguistics at the age of 20? Welcome to the Laryngeal Theory. [more inside]
The "convowel" tag on Wordnik tracks consonant-vowel patterns in words. "bleeding", "pheasant", "shoeless", "trousers" — ccvvcvcc; "quiet", "naiad", "Sioux", "feuar" — cvvvc; "anglophile", "attractive", "impressure", "ingressive" — vcccvccvcv
We see it every day on signs, billboards, packaging, in books and magazines; in fact, you are looking at it now — the Latin or Roman alphabet, the world’s most prolific, most widespread abc. Typography is a relatively recent invention, but to unearth the origins of alphabets, we will need to travel much farther back in time, to an era contemporaneous with the emergence of civilisation itself. The origins of abc.
Eunoia ("beautiful thinking") is the shortest word in the English language that contains all five vowels. It is also the title of a poetry collection by Canadian author Christian Bok. In addition to writing each chapter using only words that contain one vowel, (Flash presentation of Chapter "E") Bok also greatly limits himself in other ways. An amazing accomplishment that won the $40 000 Griffith Poetry Prize in 2002, Eunoia is best experienced in its spoken form. (MP3 links) (If you don't know Bok's poetry, you still might know his other work. He has also created artificial languages for two television shows: Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict and Peter Benchley's Amazon.)